Dredging takes place on Mindemoya River to allow salmon to spawn

John Graham, on backhoe, helps to dredge the mouth of the Mindemoya River in Providence Bay, to allow salmon to stage and spawn. Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Municipality of Central Manitoulin are all partners in this annual program.

MINDEMOYA RIVER—The salmon were obviously ready to move up the mouth of the Mindemoya River in Providence Bay to stage and spawn,  and with the help of Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association (MSIA), the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Municipality of Central Manitoulin, this was accomplished on Tuesday of last week.

“This morning, with the help of the municipality of Central Manitoulin we dredged the mouth of the Mindemoya River in Providence Bay. The salmon were already staging and ready to head up the river to spawn,” said Seija Deschenes, project coordinator with MSIA.

“The idea is to give the fish a direct path into the river,” said Ms. Deschenes. She pointed out the Mindemoya River dredging project is a partnership of MSIA, Central Manitoulin and the MNR. “We applied for a dredging permit from the MNR, and they had given us a three-year permit.”

“It is hard coordinating the timing for the dredging project to take place,” said Ms. Deschenes. “We are trying to open the river up when the majority of the fish want access to stage and spawn. There was a lack of rain this summer and we had a long dry spell, so there wasn’t as much water available for flow as we would like there to be.” She explained with wind and waves, sand is moved along the shorelines and builds up, causing a sandbar at the mouth of the river.

John Graham “has been the backhoe operator for the dredging and he has done a great job of opening up the river over the years,” said Ms. Deschenes.

She pointed out there is a great video of the operation, filmed by Liam Campbell,  using a drone, which can be viewed on the MSIA website. “You can see hundreds of fish waiting to get up the river and the dredging that was carried out.”

During the pandemic over the past couple of years, the water levels on the Mindemoya River were high, so dredging didn’t need to take place. “It is when the water levels drop, as we have seen this year, with lots of wind that moves the sand around that can make it more difficult for the salmon,” said Ms. Deschenes.

“Its important to do the dredging to let the fish get into the stream and naturally reproduce,” said Ms. Deschenes.